As my special day came to a close, I decided to treat a few of my friends to dinner. Being the foodie that I am, the decision for the restaurant as usual falls to me. I wish that someday, someone would take me to a place I didn’t pick or know off. It does get a bit tiring to always keep thinking of where to eat. But that’s for another story.

Ever since they were nominated for best japanese restaurant in the the MBKRS (Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets), wherein I was a judge at, I’ve always been intrigued with Nihonbasitei. I’ve heard raving reviews and I was excited to try them out for my special day.

Luigi and I arrived first and quickly placed our orders. But sadly, due to a last minute cancellation by Ken and Marvie, it was just luigi and I for the night. Jill (www.thefoodscout.net) also cancelled and Ben was out of town.

I got a tall glass of cold water, while Luigi ordered cold tea.

We ordered some appetizers and since it was a bit late and with my tummy rumbling, I decided to skip the raw fish and ordered some Gyozas. Luigi and his family were apparently regulars here and he highly praised the Gyozas as well as the service. Perfect I thought, since I was crazy hungry.

Sadly, I think it was an off night during my visit. We struggled to get the attention of the waitresses, given that we were already seated right in the middle of the restaurant, and our simple orders took some time. Actually my orders took awhile. Luigi’s order came out pretty quickly.

Luigi ordered the Unagiryudon. Basically fried eel in a sweet sauce. It came with some Miso soup. And this was a first for me, clams in Miso. Interesting.

I in turn decided to go safe and ordered some traditional japanese dishes. Nihonbashitei is said to have really authentic Japanese dishes so I decided to try out some staple favorites and compare.

I ordered 3 dishes. A plate of Gyozas, Ebi Tempura, and Chicken Teriyaki.

After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, first to come out was the chicken Teriyaki.

I really wanted to try this dish to compare. It was all about comparison at this point because I have tasted some authentic Japanese food both here and abroad and I wanted to see how Nihonbashitei would stack against its competition.

The Chicken Teriyaki was pretty good. The smokiness of chicken still came out despite it being slathered on with Teriyaki sauce.

See the burnt parts? They didn’t taste burnt. The teriyaki sauce also wasn’t too sweet which was the way I liked it. Too bad I wasn’t able to eat this right away since my cup of rice didn’t come out with it.

After a few more minutes of waiting, they Gyozas along with the Ebi Tempura and rice came out. Finally it was dinner time!

They Gyozas were actually pretty good. Not too salty and the sauce wasn’t too salty as well. Usually, they run a bit on the salty ones with our local restaurants. Also this is something worth noting, the wrapping was unbelievably thin. It was awesome. Perfectly made just as craftsman or artisan would make them. I loved also how they weren’t jampacked with the fillings. They made each bite enjoyable.

The Ebi Tempura wasn’t something worth raving about. It was plain and simple. The shrimp was perfectly cooked though but other than that nothing worth noting.

The Gyoza was worth every bite and allowed you to savor every flavor.

After completely devouring everything I decided to order one more dish. I mean what is Japanese cuisine without raw fish? So spicy tuna sashimi it was. And boy was I glad that I ordered this.

The tuna was fresh and succulent. Each bite was juicy. A bit of a warning though, for someone who can tolerate his spicy dishes this was pretty spicy. But I loved dipping it still in wasabi, calamansi, and soy sauce. This dish alone could have salvaged the entire dinner.

Overall Nihonbashitei was indeed one of the most authentic japanese restaurants and well worth it. The entire dinner was about Php 1,500 and for the amount of food we had was pretty good. One note though, the Gohan or Japanese rice wasn’t as sticky and wet as I would like it to be. But if I need some good Japanese food for a good price, Nihonbashitei it is!